Santa Maura (Modern Gr. Levcada; Anc. Leucadia Or Leucas), an island and eparchy of Greece, one of the Ionian islands, in the Ionian sea, separated by a strait 1 m. wide from the W. coast of Acarna-nia; area, 111 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 20,892. It is 22 m. long by from 5 to 9 m. wide, and is traversed N. and S. by a limestone ridge, terminating S. W. in Cape Ducato (the ancient Leucas, famous for Sappho's leap), and culminating near the centre of the island in Mount St. Elias, about 3,750 ft. high. The whole surface is more or less broken; only a small portion is cultivated, and the crop of grain is insufficient for home consumption. The principal exports are oil, wine, and salt, the last procured by evaporation in the lagoon. Capital, Amaxichi, also sometimes called Santa Maura. - The ancient Leucas (Gr. λεύκος, white) derived its name from the limestone cliffs. In the time of Homer it was united to the mainland at the N. E. extremity by an isthmus, which was cut through by the Corinthians about the middle of the 7th century B. C. The town of Leucas, which was founded near the isthmus by the Corinthians, became the headquarters of the Acarnanian league, and was taken and plundered by the Romans in 197 B. C. On the promontory of Leucas was a temple to Apollo, and at the annual festival of the god it was customary to cast a crim-. inal from the rock into the sea.
Birds of all kinds were tied to him to break his fall, and if he survived boats were ready to save him; but in that case he was banished for ever. This expiatory rite gave rise to the story that lovers leaped from this cliff to escape the pangs of love.